Hello. I’m Gavin Edwards, contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of Last Night at the Viper Room, the ’Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy series, and (with the original MTV VJs) the New York Times bestseller VJ. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I like caffeine, boardgames, and lists with three items.

Hi, We’re the Replacements

trouble boys coverA few favorite artists I missed on seeing live when I was younger and probably won’t ever get to now: Talking Heads, Hüsker Dü, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. (Okay, that last one definitely isn’t happening, because he’s dead.) The Replacements would have been high on that wish list, except I caught the reunion tour at Coachella a couple of years back–which was pretty much everything I had hoped for. I got to extend the glory days a little longer by reviewing Bob Mehr’s totally enjoyable history of the band, Trouble Boys, for the Barnes and Noble Review: go check it out.

A favorite story from the book that didn’t make it into the review: the week after I saw them at Coachella, Paul Westerberg did most of the next show reclined on a couch onstage, saying that he was suffering from back pain. Filling in as frontman was Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, who played with the band for some gigs after that. Mehr reports that when Westerberg decided his services were no longer required, he told him, “Billie, I’m firing the whole band—but we’re going in alphabetical order.”

posted 25 March 2016 in Outside. no comments yet

Rolling in the Deep: 2/2/16

rs1254What’s that? You say you’re curious about my recent work for the Rolling Stone website? Well, you better start clicking up a storm, because in the last couple of months, I wrote about Bill Murray’s awesome Christmas special, the Beatles’ most blatant swipes from other artists, the musicians and musical figures who died in 2015, and the next U2 album. I also wrote up “flashback” looks at live performances by the Clash, Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, and the Smiths. In addition, I ranked all of Guns N’ Roses’ videos, from worst to best, and interviewed genius screenwriter Charlie Kaufman about his latest movie, Anomalisa. And because life sucks, Scott Weiland and David Bowie both died: I unearthed a never-printed conversation I had with Weiland and wrote about Bowie’s “TVC15,” “Fame,” and “The Jean Genie.”

posted 2 February 2016 in Links. no comments yet

Woody!

I discovered that my Woody Harrelson interview from 2009 had fallen victim to a website redesign at Maxim: but now it lives on in the archives here. Thrill to the advance word of Zoe Kravitz as a budding sex symbol!

posted 29 January 2016 in Archives. no comments yet

R.I.P. Scott Weiland 1967-2015

At some point in the mid-90s, I turned down the chance to interview Stone Temple Pilots: I had already written too many profiles of heroin addicts, and right then, I couldn’t listen one more time to stories of the drug and its inevitable toll on human lives. A decade later, I ended up spending a couple of days with Velvet Revolver for a Rolling Stone article, so I heard some of those stories anyway. A decade after that, Scott Weiland is dead. It always sucks, no matter how unsurprising it is.

When I heard the news late last night, I went back to my interview transcripts from 2004 and reread my conversation with Scott (previously unpublished excerpts from that interview are now on the Rolling Stone website as “The Lost Q&A.” He was smart, he was creative, he was skittish. He didn’t like living out his addiction dramas in public, and had declared that after talking to me he would be taking six months off from talking to the press, but even when I would bring up other topics of conversation, he always ended up talking about heroin and its consequences. The gravitational force of the drug was too great.

posted 4 December 2015 in News, Uncategorized. 1 comment

Rolling in the Deep: 12/2/15

rs1251I took some time off from Rolling Stone because I was working on a slew of books, but in recent months, I’ve had a few pieces appear on the RS website. I wrote up the memoirs by Carly Simon (who proved to be an impressive prose stylist) and Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen (who didn’t), a goofy Thanksgiving list, some vintage video clips of Neil Young, doing “Powderfinger” with Crazy Horse and “Country Feedback” with R.E.M., and two dispatches from the wild world of Bill Murray, one about Rock the Kasbah and one about his devotion to poetry. Enjoy!

posted 2 December 2015 in Outside. no comments yet

Can I Say Roundup II

canisay2I’m guessing that you don’t have time to check out every single writeup of Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums Drums Drums, the autobiography of Travis Barker (cowritten by me). But I am here for you, bringing you some recent highlights of the ongoing press coverage:

The Guardian (which I will always think of as a British newspaper, but which I guess has a substantial American footprint now) ran a droll Q&A with Travis. “I like a man with a favourite font, and on page 132 of your book you say yours is Steelworks,” says interviewer Peter Robinson. Well, if that’s how they’re spelling “favorite,” I guess they’re still fundamentally British.

Another Travis interview is an in-depth conversation with Noisey, part of the Vice empire. Derek Scancarelli writes: “The nearly 400-page book is a tell-all story, a transparent portrayal of his childhood, career, and the plane crash that changed the trajectory of his life. It also may be the only book in history to have ties to King Diamond, Paul Wall, and Chain of Strength.”

And if you pick up the latest copy of Rolling Stone (Adele cover), you’ll find a cool writeup of the book by Andy Greene, titled “How to Survive a Plane Crash–and Blink-182.” (The review’s not online.) Money quote: “Can I Say is a fascinating look into the life of a talented, hard-partying musician who has beaten the odds several times.”

Looking for somebody who will accept your money and give you a copy of Can I Say in return? Go to your favorite bookseller, whether that’s Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore.

posted 17 November 2015 in Buy My Stuff. no comments yet

Friday Foto: Lizard King

lizardTaken from inside our home in Charlotte, behind a glass door.

posted 13 November 2015 in Photos. no comments yet

R.I.P. Allen Toussaint 1938-2015

I never had the good fortune of meeting Allen Toussaint, the great New Orleans musician who died on Monday, but I want to share two stories about him with you.

1. This was about 10 years ago, when I lived in lower Manhattan. I was taking my dog, Mojo, on a long walk in and around Battery Park–and then I stumbled into a free concert in the park, where Toussaint was performing. I arrived just as he started “Yes We Can Can.” It remains one of my favorite moments of New York City serendipity ever.

2. Four years ago, I wrote an article about Hugh Laurie for The New York Times Magazine. Toussaint did the horn arrangements for Laurie’s debut album Let Them Talk, so I asked Laurie to tell me a Toussaint story. The anecdote didn’t reveal much about Laurie, so it didn’t make it into the article, but I treasure it nevertheless:

“He was making a record with Elvis Costello, half of it in Los Angeles and half in New Orleans. A friend of mine knew Elvis and said, ‘Do you want to come along to the studio and listen to them play?’ They had a 13- or 14-piece band with a big horn section. Elvis sang, is it ‘Freedom of the Stallion’ or ‘Freedom for the Stallion’? [The latter–GE] Whatever, it’s a beautiful ballad. They’d done a couple of takes, and they both came into the control room to listen. Elvis said to Allen, ‘What did you think?’ Allen, who’s very gentle and professorial, said, ‘I think that at the end of the song, it should feel as if the voice has been lifted to heaven on the wings of the organ. The voice should be born aloft on just the organ.’ Elvis said to the engineer, ‘Allen thinks the organ should be louder.’”

posted 10 November 2015 in News. no comments yet

Woo-Hoo

If you are a fan of Blur–is it okay to start digging them now if you never connected with them in the past quarter-century? Sure, why not?–you might want to check out my recent article about the band in the pages of The New York Times. It ran on the front page of the Weekend Arts II section the Friday before last, between the band’s gig at the Hollywood Bowl and their show at Madison Square Garden–but now it lives on forever on the Internet.

And if you haven’t seen it, check out this clip from MSG where fan Anaiah steps up to do the verse of “Parklife” and nails it.

posted 3 November 2015 in Outside. no comments yet

1988 Missing Persons File

When I’m writing posts about the videos of 1988, I do what I can to find out who directed the clip, or who did an interesting bit of background business, or where there’s a love interest (almost invariably played by a model), the name of the beauty. But Google has sometimes failed me, so I often end up saying “the director,” “the dancer,” or “the girl.”

As it happens, people have given me some of this information in recent weeks, so this is where I combine the information into one action-packed post and pass on the information (and the savings) to you!

According to commenter “tj thomas,” the model in video #58, Paul Carrack’s “Don’t Shed a Tear,” is one Kendall Conrad, now a designer of jewelry, bags, and other fashion accessories. (“Use the Kendall Conrad accessories wall thoughtfully!”)

Another brunette model, the female star of video #83, Icehouse’s “Electric Blue,” is apparently the Australian actress Cassandra Delaney, briefly married to John Denver.

And the bartender in video #39 (Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”) who stole the show with his dance moves, prompting me to write, “Man, I hope whoever played the bartender parlayed this video into a West End show or an Olympics medal or something”? Turns out he was Clive Clarke, an alumnus of the Top of the Pops dance troupe called Zoo (which also featured a young “Downtown” Julie Brown).

Kendall Conrad, Cassandra Delaney, and Clive Clarke, I salute you all for your services on the frontlines of 1988 video.

posted 2 November 2015 in 1988. no comments yet